Universal is in the process of creating a classic horror creatures franchise, following the interconnected tentpole blueprint laid out by Marvel Cinematic Universe. They’ve already scored top-tier talent such as Tom CruiseJohnny Depp, and Russell Crowe, and they are now eyeing Javier Bardem for the iconic role of Frankenstein’s monster, which was clarified by Variety‘s Justin Kroll:

The No Country For Old Men star previously declined an offer to appear opposite Cruise in The Mummy, a role which was deferred to Crowe. It now seems as though there’s a spot for everyone in this monster mash, which Bardem will shoot after Darren Aronofsky‘s next project, which is currently in production. Bardem will also be seen in another big-budget feature when Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales lands next summer.

In other news, Andrew Haigh‘s 45 Years follow-up (not counting Looking: The Movie) Lean on Pete has found its protagonist with up-and-comer Charlie Plummer, Deadline reports. The King Jack star will play teenager Charley Thompson, who is neglected by his mother and embarks on a journey with the titular racehorse in a tale of “lost Americana.” Plummer recently played opposite Richard GereLaura Linney, and Chloe Sevigny in The Dinner, along with Marisa Tomei and Timothy Olyphant in Behold My Heart. With Steve Buscemi recently attached, Plummer will continue his budding career opposite veteran heavy hitters.

Sam ElliottAdditionally, Sam Elliott is pairing with Orange Is The New Black star Laura Prepon in Brett Haley‘s The Hero. Haley has already secured Nick OffermanKrysten Ritter, and Katharine Ross in the drama he co-wrote with March Basch, who teamed up for last year’s I’ll See You In My Dreams.

According to Variety, Elliott will play a retired western icon who is now a weed-smoking burnout who does voiceovers for films and hangs out with his pal (Offerman) in his spare time. When he receives life changing news, he decides to reprise his once-beloved Western role of the titular “Hero” and try to reconnect with his wife (Ross) and wayward daughter (Ritter). Prepon plays a stand-up comic whose story intertwines with Elliot’s, making him question the true meaning of success.

Lastly, New Line’s comedy Life of the Party has added Gillian Jacobs to star alongside Melissa McCarthy. The comedy will be directed by McCarthy’s husband, Ben Falcone, who directed her in The Boss. The pair wrote the script and will produce it alongside Daddy’s Home backer Chris Henchy. The plot hasn’t been revealed, but THR reports it is, “being described as in the vein of the Rodney Dangerfield hit college comedy Back to School” and Jacobs will take the role of a sorority sister.

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